Top 10 Tips To Qualifying For The 2014 World Cup
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What's the easiest way to qualify for the World Cup? As qualification begins, today on the blog Ryan O'Donovan gives us his 10 tips to help football nations all over the world in their quest to compete at Brazil 2014.
It seems like it was only yesterday that Euro 2012 was finishing, as Spain once again lifted that gleaming trophy above their gelled, slick hairs after conquering the continent.
It gave us some great talking points too; such as France’s performances being worse than the average X-Factor contestant and Portugal, Germany and Holland proving, once again, that Alan Hansen has no knowledge of football and should never have become a football pundit. Lord Sugar would do a better job.
Looking back, it makes you miss major international football more than a small child misses it’s mother when she goes on a boozy night out. But dry those tears, open your European road map and start looking at those God-awful Easyjet flights because the World Cup 2014 qualifiers are upon us!
But just how do you qualify for them? With teams like Kazakhstan, San Marino and Macedonia in the qualifiers, teams are going to need help with defeating the unknown. So where do you find someone who has this knowledge? Read on for some top tips on how to qualify for the Brazil World Cup 2014!
10. Don’t be San Marino
Well this is a tip that you can’t really do much about. You either are a minnow or you aren’t. We all know that, unfortunately, some teams are only in the qualifiers to make up the numbers and pretty much be cannon fodder for the bigger teams in the continent. Much like Liverpool or QPR in the Premier League this season.
Why did I pick San Marino? Well, with world superstars such as Nicola Cavelli, Alessandro Bianchi and Matteo Vitaioli I don’t really think that they will qualify for the World Cup. Actually, I’d even say that your team may have more of a chance.
The draw hasn’t been much help to San Marino either – England, Poland and Ukraine have been included in their group. That’s pretty much like turning up to a beauty contest, only to discover that you’ll be competing against Brad Pitt, Johnny Depp and that Robert Pattison bloke. It’s a bit unfair, and lets face it, you really have no chance of winning.
All in all, if you want any chance of qualifying for Brazil, then steer well away from managing or being San Marino.
9. Field New Talent
Some football fans, managers and pundits seem to be stuck in the past. I often wonder if some of the older generation spends countless hours reminiscing back to when their centre backs were big, rugged men who nowadays wouldn’t even be allowed to play rugby. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that Lionel Messi isn’t a patch on Maradonna. I know when I go to see my team the old blokes are constantly referring back to the “vintage years”. It may make you feel better about your wife, but please don’t bring it into football.
Managers of Europe, and indeed the world, if you want to qualify for the World Cup, which is in two years time remember, then you need to get some fresh new talent onto the field. Germany did it and look where it’s got them.
No matter how dear we may hold some of these footballers, once their time has come, it has come. You wouldn’t like to eat some pizza that is four years out of date, would you? It’s the exact same for footballers. There is no point in playing an old man on zimmer frame when there is a young starlet waiting in the wings who can take his place. And do much better.
Let’s look at Ballotelli. When he isn’t setting his house on fire, or crashing his car into a post box, or taking his shirt off when he scores, the man is a fantastic player. He certainly showed what the younger players can do against Germany in the Euros, so why not give it a chance in your team? You never know, you may just unearth a national icon.
8. Don’t Let Robert Green, Scott Carson or David James Anywhere Near Your Squad
Okay, maybe I’m being a bit harsh here. But then my mind wanders back to that night at Wembley against Croatia, that quarter-final game against Brazil in 2002 and that night in South Africa against the Americans and I realise I’m not being harsh at all.
If you want to qualify, then do not let these three players anywhere near your squad. I mean it. It is more pain and heartache than its worth.
Some of you may not be England fans. Some of you may not understand what it feels like to play so well, only for the goalkeeping devil to place a curse upon your keepers. It really is like being punched in the gut after eating a meal that the guy from Man vs Food would be proud of.
Okay, so some of your countries may not possess keepers like Iker Casillas or Gianluigi Buffon, but even Accrington Stanley can field better goalkeepers than the three mentioned in the subtitle.
I cant even bear to say their names, it’s that bad.
Some of you may think I’m over reacting here. That’s fine. But think about it this way, if your country is against a team you should really beat, at home, in a must win game and your keeper has an absolute stinker, you’d be pretty livid too.
But what I’m getting at here is a serious point. Sort of. If you want to qualify for the biggest competition in the World, then you need a safe pair of hands in the goal all the time.
After all, it may come down to goal difference.
7. Have a Deadly Strikeforce
Once again I’m going for a tip based on the players you will put in your team, and for good reason too. Everything successful has good front men: Star Wars had Anakin and Luke Skywalker, Only Fools and Horses had Rodney and Del Boy Trotter and, sorry Arsenal fans, but Manchester United have Wayne Rooney and Robin van Persie.
It goes to show that front men really are the most important members of the team. Except for the cheerleaders. They are very, very, very important.
But yes, having a deadly strikeforce will most certainly increase your chances of qualifying for the World Cup. Let’s take the example of the latest Euro 2012 final between Spain and Italy. There really wasn’t too much in that game, but Spain most definitely had the upper hand when it came to the strikers. Much like Chelsea have the upper hand when it comes to transporting their players, as we all found out last year when they parked many buses in front of various goal mouths in the Champion’s League.
So, Mr. Hodgson, Mr. Low and Mr. Del Bosque, when it comes to selecting the team that you think is best suited to blowing away the opposition and securing you that place in Brazil, make sure to include your best strikers. Er, Mr Hodgson, I do realise you may have a problem there! It makes sense, doesn’t it? Holland have van Persie, Germany have Mario Gomez and Spain have David Villa. They all qualified for the Euros in quite astonishing fashion, so take a leaf from their book and select the best of the best that your country has to offer.
If that is Emile Heskey, then I apologise immensely for the embarrassment that will be caused during the qualifiers.
6. Don’t play the French in a Play-Off
Who can forget the match that is the inspiration for this tip? A match that was played on a cold November evening in the Stade De France between the Republic of Ireland and France, a game that very nearly started a war against FIFA and Thierry Henry himself.
So what’s one of the best ways to qualify for the World Cup?
Easy, don’t play the French in a play-off match! Of course, winning the group may be seen as an easier route, but some teams just don’t have that option. Who could really beat Germany to finish top of the group?
All in all, missing France in a play-off game would really do your team the world of good. Not that I’m saying every French man and footballer is a cheat. No, only Thierry Henry. I’m sure that if there was a fight between him and Oliver Cromwell, Ireland would support Cromwell. That’s how much Henry is hated there.
If, however, you are unfortunate enough to be drawn into a play-off tie with the French then all I can really say is I pity you. Especially if you are a small nation, which you most likely will be, as UEFA will make sure that the bigger teams get it easier.
So maybe this tip should really be called “Don’t Play France and Don’t be Europe”? Just so you can avoid France and UEFA all together.
5. Don’t Let Steve McClaren Anywhere Near Your Team
The wally with the brolly. I think only England fans may actually have seen what McClaren is really like. FC Twente fans may argue with me here about how he is fantastic and that any country would be proud to have him.
Well let me tell you this, you are wrong. More wrong than when Neville Chamberlain was when he came back from Munich with that piece of white paper and proclaimed “Peace in our Time”.
Lets cast our minds back to the 21st November 2007, on a rainy night at Wembley. He probably wishes that night never happened. I wish it never happened. England itself wishes it never happened. It was an embarrassment to football and to ourselves.
So, in what must be one of the biggest tips I have ever made, do not let this man anywhere near your squad. He will drop quality players for mediocre players – the man would probably prefer Susan Boyle than Megan Fox, and then he would recall them when he needed their help.
Yes, I am comparing David Beckham to Megan Fox.
But wouldn’t you? Look at him! Wouldn’t you give your left arm to look like that man, and to be able to play like him too! God really hasn’t been fair here, gifting him with looks and skill while he makes some of us seem like cavemen.
Okay, back to the point, which is my personal vendetta against this man. If you really want your squad to walk out in some far-flung stadium in Brazil, then hire a different man. Hire a goat – it would do a much better job.
4. Host the Competition
Who are the first team to qualify for the World Cup?
Argentina? Close, but not close enough.
It is of course Brazil – the hosts of the competition. It’d be a bit embarrassing if your country was holding the competition and didn’t even qualify, that’d be much like having a dinner party with the Queen, only to forget your own invite. You’d want to disappear off the face of the Earth and never appear again.
That’s how Piers Morgan feels every day of his life, and you don’t want to turn out like him, do you?
But in all seriousness, the easiest way to qualify for the World Cup is to host the competition. Now, this sounds easier than falling to sleep, but you’ll be surprised. It takes years of planning and promoting to actually win a bid to bring the World Cup to your country. Not only that, but you need some serious stadia, like Wembley, Old Trafford and Anfield. You also need some good infrastructure, like train lines and motorways.
It all takes years to be honest, so an easier way would be just qualifying through the group stages. At least then you know you’ve qualified.
But if you are thinking of going for a World Cup bid then the list I have mentioned is extremely necessary.
Or then again, you could just have lots of money and pay FIFA. I believe that may have happened recently?
3. Get Drawn Into an Easy Group
This tip is more down to luck really, but it’s still a good tip to help you get through to the World Cup finals. If you get drawn into an easy group, then you have a very good chance of qualifying for the finals.
Well, more chance than David Cameron has of being Prime Minister the next time a General Election comes round anyways.
What would an “easy group” be in this qualifying stage? Group A, E, G and H are all rather easy groups on paper. Any group that hasn’t got Germany, Italy or Portugal in it are always easy groups. Or you could look at this way if you support one of those nations: You’re the biggest team in there; you’re going to qualify. If you didn’t then it would be a bigger shock than when Chelsea were ripped apart by Athletico Madrid.
Of course, this tip is totally dependent on how kind the draw is to you. If the draw likes you more than that nerdy girl who is completely obsessed with you does, then you’re fine. If, however, the draw is more horrible to you than your boss was when he found out you slept with his wife, well then you’re in trouble.
Feel sorry for Georgia, they have both Spain and France in their group. It doesn’t get much worse than that!
2. Be Spain or Germany
Lets face it; Spain and Germany are quite possibly two of best nations in the world at the moment. Spain, the reigning world and European champions, the beautiful players of the beautiful games and Germany, the powerhouse who play football to win, and win well at that.
What easier way to qualify than to be one of these two footballing nations? Any country that includes Iniesta, Xavi or Ozil is definitely not one to be taken likely. You wouldn’t mess about with a lion, an animal that possesses many sharp teeth and claws, and the same could be said about these two teams.
Okay, so Germany may have been battered by Italy more than Great Britain did to Australia in the medals table in the Olympics, but it wont be long until Germany can really challenge Spain for a major title. Although Spain will be a serious world player for a long time.
So Managers of the world, if you really want to qualify for the World Cup, then be Spain or Germany. Try you’re hardest to become the coach of these two nations. Or, if that doesn’t work, try getting your players to speak Spanish, make them get their hair styled into mullets and get them to play some tiki-taka football.
If this is all in vain, then don’t despair, I hear that Chinese football is a low pressure job.
1. Adopt Lionel Messi or Cristiano Ronaldo into Your Team
Well, there really isn’t any other way to do it, is there? If you want to win a model competition, you would enter a Playboy bunny. If you wanted to win a quiz, then you’d enter Stephen Hawking. And if you wanted to qualify for the World Cup, then youd need the two best players in the world: Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.
Both of these fantastic players smashed in over 50 goals last season each in La Liga – and believe me that’s no mean feat. It’d be like working at an insurance company and getting 432,984 new quotes in a year.
Okay, one player doesn’t make a team, and yes, playing for Argentina and Portugal is a bit different from playing with Barcelona and Real Madrid, but these two players can be seen as two of the best that have ever graced the world of football, so having them in your team is a serious must.
It pretty much is a sure fire way of securing qualification. Messi already has three goals and I’m sure Ronaldo will open his account against Luxembourg on Friday night.
Managers, coaches and fans. The number one tip to qualifying is having these two demi-Gods in your team. There is no other way to put it.
Now, as you look forward to the start of the qualifiers, you need not worry any longer about not knowing how your nation will get through it as you have ten how to tips to qualifying. But don’t think you are the only one in possession of this guide, oh no, I’m pretty sure every manager in the world has ordered a copy and will be religiously reading through it every night before bed.
Like they do with Aesop’s Fables and Harry Potter.
But in all honesty, let the qualifiers begin. Here’s to another batch of top quality international football from some of the best footballers and football teams around.
Let’s all hope Brazil delivers an amazing tournament- if it’s as good as their dancing, we are in for a treat!
Above all, lets hope our countries qualify for the greatest show on Earth.
Follow Ryan on Twitter: @R_O_Donovan
Read more of Ryan's work on his blog LifeOnTheBeeRoads Blogspot
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